Roger Ebert is a notoriously beloved online presence, but the film critic is now at the center of a Twitter firestorm. After Jackass star Ryan Dunn was killed in a fiery car crash early Monday, Ebert tweeted "Friends don't let jackasses drink and drive." It's not known if Dunn was intoxicated at the time of his death, though he had posted pictures of himself drinking hours before the crash, and may have been speeding at more than 100 mph in a 55 mph zone. Ebert's tweet was quickly seized upon, with Perez Hilton deeming it "extremely insensitive," and Jackass fans raging on Ebert's Facebook page. The film critic has since offered an apology, calling his response "unseemly," and saying that he "was probably too quick to tweet." But he also noted that many supporters agreed with his anti-drunk-driving message. Does Ebert deserve such broad condemnation?
Yes. Ebert's tweet was ill-timed and in bad taste: This was just plain "stupid," and totally uncalled for, says Seth Abramovitch at Gawker. At the time of the tweet, it wasn't known conclusively if Dunn was driving drunk, and "friends and fans were still in mortal shock over the awful news." There's no need for a lecture from a movie critic on the danger of drunk driving at that point, if ever. This sums up "everything that's annoying about Twitter," namely, "people wanting to be heard, me not wanting to hear them."
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Wait, Ebert might be in the right: "If Dunn was bombed and driving when his Porsche flew off a Pennsylvania highway at three in the morning (neither has yet to be publicly confirmed), Ebert was right," says Henry Blodget at Business Insider. "In fact, he understated it." Driving drunk isn't just a "jackass" think to do, it's a "serious offense," especially when people are killed. More accurately, it's "manslaughter" and "reckless endangerment."
"Roger Ebert was right to call Ryan Dunn a "Jackass" if he drove bombed"
Like many older Americans, Ebert just doesn't get Twitter: This just shows, as "Weinergate" and Sarah Palin's "refudiate" have before, that "older people — even the very smart and savviest — have a tough time successfully navigating Twitter," says Alex Moore at Death + Taxes. Those over 35 seem to have trouble grasping the potential ramifications of their tweets, while even "relatively inept" young stars (ahem Snooki, Kanye) get it.
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